Monday, 1st March 2021
When the Department of Transport start dictating the educational decisions of parents across the Glass House electorate, and indeed the entire state of Queensland, something is seriously wrong.
Currently, students living in a school catchment area (as defined by the Department of Education) do not always have access to subsidised public transport to that school.
“I’ve had many families contact me over the course of the last twelve years with school transport issues. For example, there are countless families in Mooloolah Valley, in the Maleny State High School catchment, who can’t access subsidised school transport to Maleny for their kids because of STAS – the Student Transport Assistance Scheme,” said Mr Powell.
“STAS has also stopped parents in Delaneys’ Creek trying to send their kids to Woodford and Kilcoy High Schools.”
“And the kicker has been kids in Ocean View trying to get to Mt Mee State School!” continued Mr Powell.
The Student Transport Assistance Scheme (STAS) is a policy of subsidising public transport to the nearest school – not the school the Education Department require the child to attend.
“The STAS policy is seriously in need of a comprehensive review to better match the educational and transport needs of Queensland students and parents.”
“Currently, the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) prioritise network “connectivity” over educational needs – even going as far as to define which school a child should attend!”
“How can a transport department possibly know better than an education department? Glass House kids need to be able to access affordable public transport to the catchment school that the Department of Education has placed them in.”
Mr Powell has launched a Parliamentary Petition calling for an urgent review of the State Government’s ‘Student Transport Assistance Scheme’ (STAS). The petition can be signed online at https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/petition-details?id=3476
According to TMR, their position has been adopted by all successive governments since the inception of the scheme.
“Well shame on us as your representatives that we’ve never had the guts to challenge and review this. It’s obvious the STAS policy is long overdue for significant review and reform” Mr Powell concluded.